By the end of the season the Red Deer Rebels are looking at about 250 man games lost due to injury.
At the time this article is being written they have 25 wins on the season and they’re .500. The Kelowna Rockets have won 24 games this season and to date, they have 57 man games lost due to injury. The Rebels are doing pretty good, considering all the players that have been injured this season.
“It’s been pretty hard,” said Rebels assistant coach Bryce Thoma. “A lot of times when you look to call up players it’s based on their schedule and their availability. With AAA midget a lot of their games are played on the weekend, (so) that’s a bit of a conflict.”
The Rebels have not only suffered many injuries this season, they’ve suffered injuries to major players. Captain Alex Petrovic, Colten Mayor, Adam Kambeitz, Aaron Borejko and goalie Patrick Bartosak are just a few names of players that the Rebels have lost at some point during the season. And I stress, just to name a few.
“I don’t think you ever expect anything to this kind of magnitude. It’s been a lot of injuries. But at the same time we’ve had a lot of guys step up,” said Thoma. The rebels have not only had to juggle players being called up. They’ve also had to juggle players. Rookies are getting matched up against some of the other teams’ best lines.
“It’s a big jump for some guys where they may be playing a bit over their heads. And they’re playing against lines that they normally wouldn’t in terms of matchups,” the assistant coach explained. “But I think our work ethic, for the most part has been there, and we’ve played hard with the guys we’ve had.”
And there’s little that can be done to get these players back in the lineup — every injury has a timetable. The good news is there is plenty of footage for rebels coaching staff to evaluate talent.
And for the most part, Thoma thinks that talent is not disappointing. “There’s a lot of opportunities for guys to step up and get power play minutes and pk (penalty killing) minutes and in the long road it helps for their development, but at the same time they’re doing well with it, and they’re going out there and just competing.”